September 26, 2013
ROUND ROCK, Texas, Sept. 26 – Dell announced today that Emirates Team New Zealand, two-time America’s Cup champion, utilized high-performance (HPC) computing technology to design the yacht that challenged Oracle Team USA in the 34th Americas Cup.
Faced with the challenge of a new multihull boat requirement, Emirates Team New Zealand turned to Dell to revolutionize their design process with a Dell HPC cluster, which provided the power of computational modeling and the ability to glean the insights needed for success on the water.
Dell worked extensively with Emirates Team New Zealand to develop an HPC environment configured to their computing needs, optimizing performance without any wasted power. With a high-performance computing environment, the team was able to design and rapidly and repeatedly test new vessel design concepts without requiring actual build-out. Previous yacht development involved physical tank testing of scale models of individual hulls.
“We can now complete an entire boat design test in three days using the Dell HPC cluster. We’ve gone from 30 to 40 design candidates being tested physically for our 2007 Cup campaign to testing 300-400 designs for this edition of the America’s Cup,” said Nick Holroyd, Technical Director, Emirates Team New Zealand.
Smart boat design has always been a critical factor in determining the America’s Cup outcome, and this year’s competition raised the stakes even higher, instituting the new multihull model for competing vessels. The Kiwis decided to dramatically increase their compute power to handle the complex design and testing required for success. And Dell put that same focus on the design of the HPC that would design the team’s vessel, fine tuning the cluster for these very specialized workloads with the help of the Dell/Cambridge HPC Solution Center at Cambridge University in London.
“The transition to AC72 multihulls has meant a complete shift in focus to technology where all our prototyping is computer generated,” said Holroyd. “With less than a year to design, test and build a new design, performance and the design had to be derived computationally, which meant our requirements for a high-performance cluster suddenly exploded.”
A long-time partner to Emirates Team New Zealand, Dell assessed exactly how much processing, memory, storage, data protection and interconnectivity the Kiwis needed to optimize the HPC solution for their specific design workload. While the configuration was customized for the team’s computing demands, Dell built the HPC cluster using standardized components that are easier to maintain and operate. This approach gave the Kiwis a simple, affordable, high-performance computing solution they could manage within existing budget and resources.
“Working with Dell, we were able to benchmark the HPC architecture,” said Holroyd. “Now we’ve ended up with a machine that is specifically tailored and therefore more economical for the workload we are demanding from it.
With the combination of Dell Precision workstations, Latitude laptops and Dell PowerEdge servers connected to Dell EqualLogic storage by Dell Networking switches, the team was able to accurately predict their boat’s potential and continue to fine-tune the boat design. Even with the demands of CAD modeling and memory-intensive applications, Dell’s Precision workstations kept up with the frenetic pace of the race. Connected to their HPC cluster through virtual technology, Emirates Team New Zealand was able to create models even while on the water.
“In using computational design methods we can examine the solution with far greater precision than is possible with physical testing, which means we can start to answer the critical questions that enable the team to evolve and push the limits of design much faster,” Holroyd said. “Designing the AC72 in the Dell HPC environment not only gives us access to a larger number of possible candidates, it enables us to manipulate those boats in a more intelligent way than was ever possible.”
Though the project required a complete overhaul of IT infrastructure, Emirates Team New Zealand was able to keep their focus on competing with the support of Dell. Dell’s team of IT experts guided the deployment of the HPC cluster and continues to provide ongoing support to ensure the Kiwis continue to make the most of their IT infrastructure. Emirates Team New Zealand also partnered with Dell Social Media Services to develop a comprehensive social media strategy to keep their fans informed as they competed in the America’s Cup.
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